| HOUSTON, March 11
HOUSTON, March 11 About $200,000 in cash and
twice that amount in checks and written credit card information
were taken from a safe at the Lakewood Church led by
televangelist Pastor Joel Osteen, police said Tuesday.
The theft is believed to have taken place between 2:30 p.m.
local time on Sunday and 8:30 a.m. Monday, when the funds were
reported missing, said Houston police spokesman Kese Smith.
A Lakewood Church employee and an off-duty Harris County
sheriff's deputy, who was performing security for the Christian
megachurch, reported the money missing, Smith said.
Lakewood officials told church members the theft was not a
data breach and limited to weekend contributions.
The church is housed in the former sports arena for the
Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association. About
42,000 to 43,000 people attend the church over a weekend.
The funds were fully insured and church officials are
working with an insurance company, the church said.
Lakewood Church spokesman Donald Iloff Jr. said only that
the church was working with Houston police and declined further
The church is led by Pastor Joel Osteen, a New York Times
best-selling author, Victoria Osteen, his wife and co-pastor,
and a leadership team made up of Osteen relatives.
(Reporting by Amanda Orr; Editing by David Bailey and Gunna